One hundred crabapple and late apple trees will now permanently reside on three different sites located on the north end of the Baraga planes. The DNR and volunteers from the Keweenaw Bay Cutters, a local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, have joined forces in a habitat improvement project. ??We??re trying to enhance these wildlife openings so we??re providing a soft mass, and by that we??re planting crabapples and other fruit bearing trees that??ll carry their fruit late into the season so that wildlife will be able to benefit from them late after the frost,?? said Private Land Wildlife Biologist for the DNR, Bill Scullon. Because of the DNR??s declining budget, they say it has been hard to get a lot of groundwork done. But this particular project, with the Keweenaw Bay Cutters, has been in the works for the past two years. ??We??ve been trying to get turkeys populated in Baraga County for about five years. We started a chapter and ever since, we??ve been working with the DNR and the NWTF to get projects going like this,?? said President of the Keweenaw Bay Cutters, Nick Lindemann.
The DNR says conservation is a community-based activity, and there is always an opportunity for enhancement. The planting process is more than just putting a tree into the ground. Once they are planted, a tree guard has to be put in place to keep small mammals from eating the bark and killing the tree. Even though this is the first time the Keweenaw Bay Cutters participated in this project, they hope to make this an annual event. ??I??m hoping that we??re encouraging other groups to do the same thing that our group is doing. If we want better hunting and we want to see more animals and healthier animals in the U.P., then we need to help with it,?? Lindemann said. Participants say this project helps them better understand habitat improvement. If your group is interested in working, contact your local DNR office.